While thought leadership is often thought of as a means to drive awareness or visibility for an organization, our latest research demonstrates that it does a lot more.
How Thought Leadership Impacts B2B Demand Generation
B2B companies often use thought leadership to build reputation and strategically position themselves in the minds of potential customers. But beyond its ability to drive awareness and shift perception, marketers and communicators have sometimes struggled to determine how thought leadership efforts translate to sales impact.
To help B2B companies navigate this challenge, we have collaborated with LinkedIn on a new research study of more than 1,300 business decision makers and C-suite executives that explores how thought leadership influences their own behaviors throughout the B2B purchase process.
This unique study also compares how creators of thought leadership view its demand generation impact compared to what decision-makers actually believe. The results may surprise you.
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Edelman and LinkedIn found:
- Thought leadership has meaningful impact on attracting RFP invitations, creating preference with buyers and directly contributing to sales wins
- Decision-makers value timeliness and relevance of thought leadership content more than pure originality of ideas
- Thought leadership is most credible when it’s forwarded by someone the sales prospect respects.
- A majority of decision-makers are disappointed in the quality of available thought leadership.
- Poor quality thought leadership can directly lead to lost business opportunities.
In the coming weeks, colleagues from across Edelman will publish additional insights and recommendations on related topics including content optimization, the role of paid media in creating timely engagement with prospects, and attribution modeling.
Thought leadership has always been something that many companies just do for any number of reasons.
Done well, thought leadership attracts RFP opportunities, earns preference by building trust with buyers and directly contributes to closed deals.
Thought leadership's impact on B2B demand generation is more effective, and more influential further down the purchase funnel than most thought-leadership producers give it credit for.